CAPS officers address community concerns

By Taylor Hartz | Staff Writer

September 21, 2017

If you’re frustrated that complaints to the Chicago Police Department about public safety in your community aren’t being answered, you are not alone.

A standing-room-only crowd gathered at the most recent Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy, or CAPS, meeting at 130 N. Garland Court on Sept. 14 to discuss a variety of community concerns, including homeless populations crowding sidewalks, panhandling, and using drugs on the street.

Most notably, residents at the meeting said they are worried that their complaints to the police aren’t being addressed quickly enough, or ever.

 

How to get results

CPD Officer Nicole Bryson who led the meeting for CAPS beats 111 through 114, said she completely understands why residents are frustrated and offered some suggestions for seeing better results.

“What you say when you call matters,” Bryson said, “because there are certain criteria that have to be met.”

Not every call can be handled by the units dispatched from 911, and not all non-emergency calls can be addressed right away, Bryson said, but there are three things that contribute to seeing progress on non-emergency issues in your neighborhood: the number of calls, the amount of activity, and the volume of complaints.

“The more outcry that you do, the more calls you make, will get you what you need in the district where you reside and the community you pay so much to live in,” Bryson said.

To help residents make more effective reports, the officer offered to organize a workshop this year, led by Office of Emergency Management and Communications staff, that can go over what qualifies as a 911 emergency call, and what residents should say when they phone in.

 

What are all those officers doing?

Residents said at the Sept. 14 meeting that their frustrations are higher because they aren’t seeing results, but are seeing a heavy presence of officers in their neighborhoods, mostly on foot or on bikes.

Many asked – What are they doing? Why can’t they respond to neighborhood calls?

Officer Bryson explained that foot and bike officers can’t always drop assignments to address resident calls, and frequently get called in to respond to crime at the many retail stores in the area.

“Foot officers are the first to be called for thefts in a highly concentrated area,” Bryson said, “They have to multitask between thefts, traffic, parking tickets.”

Sgt. Dombrowski, who also led the meeting, told residents that with 500,000 people in the downtown area on any given day of the week,

“Police are doing everything we possibly can to keep a lid on what could be happening,” Dombrowski said.

 

Are there enough officers?

Officer Bryson told residents that the department is in a backlog every afternoon. That means that while trying to address new concerns, they are still working to solve crimes and reports from hours or days before.

“That’s why it may seem to residents why we’re taking forever or not responding,” Bryson said, “We have a lot of responsibility.”

The sergeant said that there are a “very limited number of officers” available at any given time, but that the department is actively working to raise that number.

“We’re hiring as fast as we possibly can,” Dombrowski said.

Additionally, many officers, who can be seen donning bright orange vests, have taken up “special employment” shifts. This means that on their days off, officers are patrolling areas like the Riverwalk to ensure public safety. This year, new special employment stations have been added to the South Michigan Avenue and Lakefront areas.

 

Why are other areas cleaned up?

Residents commented that other areas in the city, like State and Van Buren, have cleaned up and cleared out when it comes to homeless populations and crime. Officer Bryson said that their process was the same – keep calling and keep complaining, even though it may seem ineffective at the time. While individual calls may not make a difference, continuous, community-wide calls do.

“Stay on it, it takes time,” Bryson said.

Residents also remarked that other areas in Chicago seem safer, cleaner or more crime-free because they are monitored by private security. Areas like Millennium Park, Maggie Daley Park, and the Riverwalk have independent companies working to patrol the area.

 

Tip: Staying Safe From Intruders

 

If there is a knock on your door and the person says they are from ComEd or People’s Gas, you should be wary about letting them into your home even if you’ve made an appointment. One way to stay safe is to call that company’s customer service line to confirm that a staff member is scheduled to visit your home, and to ask that staff member’s employee ID or badge number. The person on the other side of the door can then confirm that number with you before entering.

 

New Eastside Area Schools Guide

Special back to school feature

 

Lakefront Children’s Academy fosters confidence and learning

By Taylor Hartz | Staff Writer

Now in its eighteenth year, Lakefront Children’s Academy is the longest running early education center in New Eastside. Children ages two to six are taught with an individualized curriculum that helps them build a positive attitude toward themselves and learning.

With decades of experience in childcare behind her, owner Cheryl Rogers says her methods for teaching and training educators have developed through trial and error. “You can’t have all academics and you can’t have only ‘learn-through-play,’” said Rogers.  

Teachers at Lakefront run their classrooms with a loving and nurturing, Mary Poppins-like approach. While guiding them through an advanced curriculum, they remain animated and excited to remind the students that learning is fun. The curriculum includes science and computer lessons, as well as activities focused on fostering confidence. School administrator Eilleen Mallary credits the school’s success to its teaching ideals.

“Our philosophy of ‘enriching the mind, one child at a time’ has allowed us to become an anchor of intellectual and cultural guidance in one of Chicago’s fastest growing neighborhoods,” Mallary says.

According to school representatives, 95 percent of preschool and kindergarten students who apply to Chicago’s top private and selected schools are accepted. With a maximum capacity of 57 students split into four classrooms, the average class size at Lakefront is one teacher for every six students. Full-day or half-day toddler childcare, preschool and kindergarten programs are available. Programs at Lakefront Children’s Academy run year-round with rolling admissions, and tuition ranges from $300–400 per week.

Lakefront Children’s Academy

400 E. Randolph St.

(312) 819-1760

www.lakefrontchildrensacademy.com

 

Kiddie College at Maggie Daley Park

By Angela Gagnon | Staff Writer

The Chicago Park District’s affordable program for early learners named Kiddie College is housed in Maggie Daley Park’s Fieldhouse. The program is offered to children ages three to five

and runs throughout the school year. Class sizes are 20 students with two staff members. Children can learn with their peers through activities like circle time, crafts, music, fitness, stories and games.

“The Maggie Daley camps and classes are awesome,” says New Eastside resident Carolina Patino. “The staff is top notch and is part of the reason they are in very high demand.”

Securing a spot at the popular Kiddie College program requires some preparation. Parents browse offerings online as soon as they are listed, adding programs of interest to their wish lists,

and registering their child as soon as enrollment opens.

“Life stops for that period of registration,” jokes Reemaa Konkimalla, another Kiddie College parent. Still, many parents agree that it is well worth enduring the short period of registration anxiety to secure a spot for their youngsters.

Chicago Park District Kiddie College

Maggie Daley Park Fieldhouse

337 E. Randolph St., Chicago, IL 60601

Phone: 312-742-3918

www.chicagoparkdistrict.com

 

Ogden International School of Chicago

By Elaine Hyde | Editor

There are many quality schools in the Chicago Public School (CPS) system, from institutions using the Montessori educational approach to magnet and gifted schools. New Eastside is within the attendance boundary of Ogden International School of Chicago, a neighborhood

public school for grades K-8, and selective admission school for grades 9-12.

Offering an International Baccalaureate curriculum, registration typically occurs in August. A bus service, organized by parent volunteers, runs a pick-up and drop-off route in New Eastside.

Elementary grades K-5 attend the East Campus. Grades 6-12 attend classes at Ogden’s West campus.

Ogden International School of Chicago

East Campus (Grades K-5)

24 West Walton Street

Chicago, Illinois 60610

West Campus (Grades 6-12):

1250 West Erie Street

Chicago, Illinois 60642

P: 773.534.0866

F: 773.534.0869

 

GEMS World Academy fosters global citizenship

By Taylor Hartz | Staff Writer

At GEMS World Academy Chicago, the city is an extension of the classroom, and learning often happens through regular field studies. The school’s International Baccalaureate curriculum emphasizes global citizenship, with a focus on mobile learning and creative use of technology. 

Currently, over 400 students in pre-K to ninth grade participate in technology-based expeditions led by experienced teachers. Recently, fifth graders designed a remotely operated vehicle with guidance from Shedd Aquarium scientists. They also used it to capture footage of a trout fingerling release project in Lake Michigan.  

“Lead teachers have masters degrees and at least seven years of experience,” says Delphine Lenoir, director of enrollment management, marketing and communications.

The mission of the school is to teach children how to be “intercultural learners” who will someday become global leaders. In connection with other GEMS schools worldwide, students work with their international peers through digital collaborations and travel exchanges.

Construction of a new Upper School, which will house grades 9-12, will be complete in 2018. Students already enrolled will move into the new building over the 2018-2019 winter break.

GEMS is “a school of the future,” says Ashley Demma, digital media and events manager. “There has never been a better time to join the GEMS family.”

Families interested in enrolling at GEMS can schedule a parent meeting, playgroup or shadow day. Applications for the 2018–2019 school year are taken during fall and are due by December 31.

GEMS World Academy Chicago

350 E. South Water St., Chicago, IL 60601

Phone: 312-809-8900

www.gemsworldacademy-chicago.com

 

British International School of Chicago, South Loop

By Taylor Hartz | Staff Writer

British International School of Chicago, South Loop (BISC-SL) delivers a culturally diverse education to its students. With teachers whose experiences span six continents,

families from more than 30 nations are currently enrolled. Students from preschool to 12th grade learn under one roof without ever needing to change schools.

Since its 2015 opening, the 98,000-square-foot “purpose built” school has taught students under a “Be Ambitious” philosophy, encouraging curiosity, open-mindedness and a belief that all  students can pursue their dreams. 

The curriculum includes lessons in French, Mandarin, German and Spanish. “A worldwide perspective is embedded and celebrated every day,” says Courtney Cebula, director of communications for BISC-SL.

British International School of Chicago, South Loop also provides connections to 46 schools in Nord Anglia Education’s Global Campus network and collaborates with other schools like The Juilliard School for their music curriculum and STEAM lessons with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

With an average of nine students per teacher, each student receives individual attention to help them navigate the school’s curriculum. Tuition fees range from $13,350 per year for part-time nursery school, to $31,720 per year for secondary school (grades 6–12).

British International School of Chicago, South Loop

161 W 9th St

(773) 599-2472

www.nordangliaeducation.com

 

Bright Horizons at Lakeshore East

By Taylor Hartz | Staff Writer

Emphasizing the importance of building social skills and fostering a love of learning, Bright Horizons Early Education and Preschool offers programs for New Eastside children ages two to

five years old. At its Lakeshore East and River East locations, Bright Horizons

prepares children for grade school with language, math, art and science skills.

With a maximum enrollment of 42 students, class sizes are limited to eight students per teacher. The small classes give teachers the ability to observe each student individually and identify their

interests. Each program operates by teaching children with project-based learning, in which teachers observe and document the interests of each child, analyze their skills, and create

hands-on exploration projects based on that information.

“This approach allows children to problem solve and make decisions on their own from an early age,” says Jennifer Smith, Assistant Director at the Bright Horizons Lakeshore East location.

“It really encourages children to be the thinkers, rather than [letting] the objects or the toys or the activities [do] the thinking for the child,” she explains.

The Lakeshore East Program has limited Preschool and Kindergarten Prep availability. The school has a rolling admissions schedule. Families can start their admissions process as early as during pregnancy by joining the waiting list. Tuition ranges from $1,029 –$2,110 per month.

Bright Horizons at Lakeshore East

360 E. South Water St.

Chicago, IL 60601

Phone: 312-565-7300

Bright Horizons at River East

325 E. Grand Ave.

Chicago, IL 60611

312- 527-3573

www.brighthorizons.com

 

The Frances Xavier Warde School

A community of thinkers and leaders

By Elaine Hyde | Editor

The Frances Xavier Warde School (FXW) is an independent Catholic school in downtown Chicago that welcomes and embraces all faith traditions.

In addition to a strong commitment to innovative education, FXW emphasizes serving others. There is also a solid focus on remaining purposely diverse and intentionally inclusive.The warm, welcoming environment at FXW is what draws many families to the school where its community is a defining quality.

FXW is comprised of two separate campuses. Old St Pat’s (OSP) is located in the West Loop and serves over 500 students from three-year-old preschool to third grade. Holy Name Cathedral (HNC), in the heart of downtown Chicago, has over 400 students in grades four through eight.

Upon graduation, FXW students take with them a passion for life long learning and a

commitment to being good citizens of the world. Applications for new preschool students will be available starting on September 15 and on October 1 for students applying to grades one to eight.

The Frances Xavier

Warde School

Holy Name Campus

751 N. State Street

Chicago, IL 60654

Old St Pat’s Campus

120 S. Desplaines Street

Chicago, IL 60661

Phone: 312-466-0700

www.fxw.org

 

Gordon Salon set to open

By Nicole VanderBoom | Staff Writer

A new hair and beauty salon is coming to Lakeshore East. Late this fall, Gordon
Salon plans to open its doors at 333 E. Benton Place, between Subway and Cu-
ticle Salon. Gordon Salon is owned by husband-and-wife team Tony and Pam
Gordon, who own several locations throughout Chicagoland. According to Tony Gordon, customers can expect the interior of the high-end Aveda salon to
have “an organic-chic design,” inspired by the surrounding area. 

When the Gordons’ Lakeview location was slotted for demolition due to CTA expansion, they saw it as a sign. “We had been talking about opening a
downtown Chicago location for a while and once we got the notice that the
building will be demolished, it seemed like the universe telling us it was time,”
Gordon explains.

The entire award-winning Lakeview team will be moving to Lakeshore East. At the Lakeview location, the salon won Chicago Magazine’s Reader’s Choice for Best Hair Salon in 2016 and 2017. The Gordon Salon has its own advanced training program for stylists. “Think of it as a graduate school for cosmetologists,” says marketing manager Reina Urban.

The pair of owners pride themselves on providing quality services while making clients feel like family. “Gordon Salon is a family and we want all our guests to feel that warmth and welcome whenever they visit our salon,” says Pam Gordon.

Residents have noticed the lack of a nearby salon in the area and are excited about the prospect of one opening its doors. “I have wanted an Aveda salon
close since I moved to Chicago,” said Lakeshore East resident Alexis Jones.
“It has been very obvious that this neighborhood needs a salon.”

For more information visit www.gordonsalon.com or call 773-388-9999

Apple picking season is ripe

Different apples ripen at different times, and knowing this will help you choose the juiciest apples and help you bake a more delicious pie.

By Stephanie Racine | Community Contributor

Pinning down the various ripening times can be difficult “because there
are many sub-varieties,” according to Tom Rosenfeld of Earth First Farms.

Ripening mid-August through Labor Day are McIntosh and Paula Red apples. September brings the Red Delicious and next, ripening around mid-September, are Cortland, Empire, Jonathan, and Honey Crisp apples, the last of which is the most requested apple in farmer’s markets. “The Honey Crisp transformed the apple industry,” says Rosenfeld. “It revolutionized how apples [are] bred.”


Rosenfeld asserts it is important to buy organic apples such as the ones he
grows. Calling his fruits “apples with character,” he adds that a fresh Midwest apple has a “more developed” flavor. Non-organic growers focus on how an apple looks, but a cleaner aesthetic does not mean a cleaner apple.

Products from Earth First Farms can be found at Heartland Café in Rogers
Park, which is owned by Rosenfeld, and at farmer’s markets Green City
Market, Logan Square, and Glenwood Sunday Market.

Ready to pick some apples for yourself? Visit All-Seasons Apple Orchard Pumpkin Patch in Woodstock, IL, opening Labor Day weekend, or Heinz
Orchard in Green Oaks, IL which is about an hours drive from the Loop
and is open on weekends, starting September 9.

Lakeshore East Coffee to transform into the Drunken Bean

By Nicole VanderBoom | Staff Writer

Lakeshore East Coffee quickly became a local favorite this summer. In Sep-
tember, owner Nick Papageorgiou will close the doors and remodel the local gem so it can cater to the nighttime scene. When the coffee shop reopens in October as the Drunken Bean, its hours will be extended to 11 p.m. and its menu updated with wine, premium vodka and bourbon, including blends like Bourbon Chai.

On weeknights, residents can expect happy hour and live entertainment by
local performers. General Manager Mary Quinn’s current staff is made up of many local performers from Second City and other Chicago theaters. “We are bringing in a local artist to create a mural on one of the walls,” Papageorgiou says.

Papageorgiou explains he is crafting an atmosphere with interior changes like cozy, relaxed seating, and that the transformation aims to fill a void in the area. “The neighborhood called for a place where it could be affordable to have a glass of wine while watching live entertainment,” he says.

North Harbor Tower resident Kat Tushim says that “having a casual corner spot is something the area’s been missing.” Still, others like Lancaster resident Marina Dubinska have concerns. “People will be drinking, there will be music, and every day it will be noisy,” says Dubinska. “Our windows face the park and I am afraid it will be a constant nuisance.”

One thing all residents agree on is the store’s delicious gelato, which Papageorgiou confirmed is a permanent feature.

‘Mix at Six’ returns to Harris Theater

By Miriam Finder Annenberg | Staff Writer

Happy hour takes on an artistic twist at the Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph St.,
this October with the return of the Mix at Six event series. Combining dance
and music in a happy hour session, Mix at Six draws young professionals,
families, Harris Theater regulars, and those curious about the performing
arts. The performances begin at 6 p.m. and last only an hour, making a relax-
ing after-work stop.

Now in its third year, the event series grew out of a former lunchtime series
in hopes of diversifying its audience. “We decided to do an early evening
[time slot] instead to capture young professionals,” says Meghan McNamara,
Harris Theater manager of community engagement and partnerships. “The
response was incredibly positive.”

At the events, audience members snack on food truck offerings and sip cock-
tails or beer from Revolution Brewing.

A signature cocktail pairs with each of the four events, mirroring the evening’s
theme. “Food and drink is part of the experience,” McNamara says.

After performing on stage, the artists mingle with the crowd, adding to the informal vibe. “The atmosphere is really fun and light and not necessarily what [you] think about when coming to a performing arts center,”
McNamara says. “Everyone’s kind of mingling and hanging out.”

Though the crowd skews toward the younger side, older patrons also frequent the events, which fall outside of the traditional chamber music and ballet experience. 

“They’re kind of taking a leap with us and maybe seeing something they wouldn’t otherwise,” McNamara says.

The event regularly attracts 700–800 attendees to the Harris Theater, filling its main floor with new audience members and longtime subscribers alike.

Subscriptions cost $7.50 per performance or $30 for all four.

Mix at Six kicks off its 2017 season on October 23 with hip-hop group Rennie
Harris Puremovement. It continues with jazz group The Hot Sardines on November 8 and Harris Theater resident choreographer Brian Brooks on January 12. The series will conclude on March 21 with Trumpeter Christian Scott a Tunde Adjuah.

Men’s F3 workout group launches Chicago chapter

By Miriam Finder Annenberg | Staff Writer

 

This September, a new type of weekly morning workout will come to The
Chicago Bean in Millennium Park. F3 will offer New Eastside men a weekly
opportunity to get in shape, cultivate new friendships and realize their full potential through their three Fs mission—fitness, fellowship and faith.

Cofounder Tim Whitmire says fitness and fellowship are self-explanatory,
but the group uses a definition of faith different from religion. “It’s a belief
in something outside yourself,” he says. “Once a guy gets in shape and he
develops a network of friends, all [of a] sudden, there’s this desire to impact the
world.”

Beginning as a small group in Charlotte, North Carolina, F3 has expanded to nearly 700 groups throughout the U.S., proving the staying power of its
mission, as well as its effectiveness at getting participants into shape.

Cofounders Tim Whitmire and David Redding started the organization when
their previous workout group grew too large and shut down. “We looked at each other and said, ‘that’s crazy,’” Whitmire says. “We wanted to get
more guys out here.” Recognizing the group was more than just an opportunity to get in shape—it also provided much-needed camaraderie—they invited a group of guys to a workout in a middle school parking lot.

It was New Year’s Day 2011 and Whitmire recalls many were still feeling the effects of the night before, but the group survived and F3 was born.
Through its expansion, F3 creates a network of like-minded men in cities
throughout the country. For each new launch, a team of F3 veterans flies to
the new location, leading three initial workouts before handing over the reins
to local leaders.


The first F3 workout will take place Saturday, September 29, at 7 a.m., The
Chicago Bean in Millennium Park. In addition to the workouts in Millennium Park, F3 is launching workouts near Evanston and in Naperville. For more information, visit www.f3nation.com

New Eastside vs. New East Side

By B. David Zarley | Staff Writer

How do you style the name of your neighborhood? The New Eastside As-
sociation of Residents (NEAR), various denizens of the area, and signs erected
by the City of Chicago list the area as the “New Eastside.” However, Google
Maps, the 42nd Ward alderman office’s website, and some corporate entities
spell the neighborhood’s name using three words, “New East Side.”

When NEAR was founded in 1991, it used “Eastside” to register as a not-
for-profit corporation with the State of Illinois. “The commercial end of [the
neighborhood] spelled ‘East Side’ as two words, and then the resident’s associa-
tion came along and changed it to one,” says NEAR President Richard Ward. “I assume that they liked the word N-E-A-R, and the only way you can use N-E-
A-R is to combine Eastside.”

Chicago Tribune archives from the 1980s mention the area, but not by
name. Articles by Ron Grossman and Kathleen Myler, from 1983 and 1984
respectively, refer to the neighborhood as the Randolph Street or Randolph
Corridor. NEAR director Elliot Lapan does not recall a definitive reason for the name’s spelling. “I’m sure it was just a whim,” he writes in an email. “To me,
Eastside is a name while East Side is a location.”

 

“Prospective buyers are frequently confused as to why our neighborhood
has undergone a name change, and ultimately struggle with its brand,” says
Matt Farrell, managing broker at local real estate company Urban Real Estate.
“[New Eastside is a] gorgeous corner of Chicago that’s anything but new; rather it is a neighborhood that exemplifies Chicago’s evolution into a livable downtown.”

One form of acknowledgment exists in the signs that have been hanging in the
area since the 1980s, welcoming people to “Chicago’s New Eastside.” Scattered
throughout the neighborhood, the signs are a brilliant blue, with “East-
side” underlined by waves evocative of the Lake. The physical signs were
also used as a guide when naming the local newspaper.

“I chose the name New Eastside, two words, to be con-
sistent with the blue signs that mark the neighborhood,” says New Eastside
News founder Elaine Hyde.

Dr. Ann Keating, a history professor at North Central College specializing
in urban and suburban history, gave a simpler explanation. “My hunch is that
there isn’t a deep explanation—except for some marketing meeting at the
development company,” she writes in an email.

A definitive first use of the name—or other such event that can function as
the standard—has yet to be uncovered.

For now, the spelling is at the discretion of whomever is writing it down.

Pomeranian playgroup meets in Lake Shore East Park

By Stephanie Racine|Community Contributor

 

Lisa Michele says her nine-year-old Pomeranian Phoebe “looks and acts like a puppy. Wherever we go, she makes people smile. It makes my day when I see how happy people are to meet her.”

Anyone who has met a Pomeranian dog knows they are special. Weigh-

ing under ten pounds, they are well-matched for apartment living. Most Pomeranians love to play with other dogs, but can be inhibited by their small size, as larger dogs can pose a

threat to them. That is why a group of Pomeranian lovers have formed a meet-

up group that gathers at the northeast corner of Lake Shore East Park.

New Eastside resident Whitney Nippert Molsen describes Pomeraniansas “loving and loyal” dogs with intelligence and “big” personalities. “I feel it’s a safer environment for [my dog]

Ewokie because he has become afraid of most larger dogs,” says Molsen.

“When he was younger he was trampled by larger dogs at the dog park.” “It was entirely a chance meeting the first time,” says Anthony Ivone, owner of a Pomeranian named Enzo. “We just saw two or three Pomeranians playing in the park and we joined.” Soon, more Pomeranians arrived and it became a group of around six or seven dogs. A Facebook group was started and more Pomeranian owners found out about their breed brethren in the area. The meetings have

become more well attended since then, rounding out at 11 Pomeranians.

The group was a great find for resident Kara Adams and Sonny, her seven-year-old Pomeranian. “Sonny [has] a neurological condition called Cere-bellar Hypoplasia,” explains Adams. “He has a funny walk, but it suits his personality. The Lakeshore East Pom playgroup lets him play safely with other dogs his size.” The Pom playdates are beneficial to owners as well, as they get to socialize alongside their dogs.

The group has garnered excitement in the area and on social media. Pomeranians from other parts of the city have expressed interest in stopping by at the next meeting, and photos of the

playgroup have received hundreds of “likes” on Instagram.

To view photos and meet-up schedule, visit the Facebook and Instagrams of

the Pomeranians of Lakeshore East. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/

groups/lakeshoreeastpoms/ Instagram:@enzo_thepom, @chicagopoms @young-

butternut @luna_white_black_pom @ewokiethepom @sonnycitydog

DuSable’s A-H Docks – the hottest address in Chicago

Sitting on DuSable’s slip C-58, sisters Kathleen Greenberg and Anne Condon enjoy observing the passersby directly across from them on the lakefront promenade.

“We love this spot because we people-watch,” says Greenberg, whose father-in-law, Jerry, owns 38-foot Mirando J. On summer weekends Greenberg, Condon and their extended family, including dog Tito, are a familiar sight at DuSable, waving to people and floating on their eight-person party raft.

Ever since DuSable opened in 2000, replacing a city barge basin, demand for its 420 slips has far outstripped supply. More than 200 boaters, many of whom have already waited more than a decade, are still biding their time on two Park District waiting lists—one for intra-harbor “transfers” and one for new boaters. The Park District gives intra-harbor transfers first priority.

Waiting lists can be as long as ten years for a slip at the exclusive DuSable Harbor. Boaters relax by their boat moored in DuSable Harbor C Dock. Photo: Alan Epstein

“First and only choice is a slip in DuSable Harbor,” wrote one boater, on the new boater list since 2016. “Would like to accept any slip in DuSable,” wrote another, who lists DuSable as his first choice among five harbors. According to the lists, dozens of boaters have been rejected, including the owner of power- boat Persistence, who has been denied a slip at DuSable seven times.

This exclusivity means DuSable boat- ers, since the beginning, have opted to “squat” in their slips—with or without a boat.

“We have people who pay for a space who never come in,” says Sean Connol- ly, DuSable harbor master, referring to DuSable slip holders who own boats, but don’t bother to bring them in. “They don’t want to lose their space . . . DuSable is a very sought-after place to be.” The Park District declined to comment on whether it receives any com- plaints about this practice. According to the Park District’s website, costs for the season, from May to late October, range from $3,931 for a 30-foot stall to $8,929 for a 60-foot stall.

If getting into DuSable is difficult, then navigating its social waters can be equal- ly tricky. “A” Dock, set apart on DuSable’s northern side, holds the biggest boats, including larger yachts. Though Connolly hesitates to generalize, he says A-Dockers “aren’t out as much; they’re on the wealthier side.” B through H Docks host progressively smaller crafts, and feature more slips. H Dock, in the shadow of the Columbia Yacht Club’s MV Abegweit, has a reputation for being friendly and approachable.

“It’s more alive than the other [docks],” says Mauro Gavilanes, co-owner of 28- foot Sea Ray Ramiro’s, recognizable by its palm trees and collection of potted petunias, lilies and sweet potato vines. Six years after getting into DuSable in 2007, Gavilanes and co-owner Ramiro Jimenez got fed up staring at a seawall. “For us, the metal was so ugly,” says Gavilanes. “We had to do something.”

Now a harbinger of summer in the New Eastside, Gavilanes’ floating garden not only attracts birds, but friends and neighbors too. “We know every single one of our neighbors,” says Gavilanes. “If we see there’s a wedding happening at the Columbia Yacht Club, sometimes we bring the party down here for a barbecue.”

Ramiro Jimenez (second from right), co-owner of a 28-foot Sea Ray powerboat, is pictured with friends on his boat. Jimenez spent three years on the waiting list before he was able to transfer his boat from Monroe to DuSable Harbor. Photo: Dan Patton

“On the smaller docks, there’s a great sense of community,” says Connolly. “People look out for each other.” Many boaters come from New Eastside, and several opt to make their boat a “second home.”

Though idyllic, life in Chicago’s most coveted harbor isn’t without challenges: Food delivery can be a hassle, and mail only comes to the harbor store once a week. Waste must either be driven to a dump area, or handled by a pump-out service called Honey Jug, one of many businesses servicing boaters. Entering and exiting the docks requires punch- ing in a three-number code, different for each dock, on seven-foot-high steel security gates.

While the community codes could be compromised, Connolly says security on the docks is “excellent.” The Chicago Police report zero crimes at DuSable for the last available reporting period, from March until May.

Even though the docks are a close-knit community, landlubbing New Eastsiders can still test their sea legs at DuSable Harbor. Columbia Yacht Club’s Wednesday night “Beer Can Races” are open to “outside” volunteers, who serve as wind readers, spotters, sig- nalers and more. If all else fails, those familiar with the docks say a six-pack, a smile and a wave can work wonders in warming up boaters’ hearts.

“We’re friendly,” says Greenberg. “We talk to neighbors when they’re out.”

— Tricia Parker, Staff Writer

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